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Once-Stable Offensive Line Could Be Shaken Up Because Of Injury, Suspension
ASHBURN – A knee injury, a concussion and a suspension threaten to destabilize an offensive line that has played intact for nearly the entirety of the Washington Redskins’ season.
Head coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that center Will Montgomery sprained the MCL in his left knee and right tackle Tyler Polumbus sustained a concussion in the Redskins’ 38-21 victory at Cleveland on Sunday.
The NFL then announced later Monday afternoon that Jordan Black, who replaced Polumbus for nearly the entire second half of Sunday’s game, has been suspended four games for a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. According to multiple sources, Black had been taking a prescription medication that predated his Redskins contract but was not on the list of approved substances.
Washington is one of only four teams, along with Minnesota, the New York Jets and San Francisco, who have had the same starting offensive line for each game this season.
“I don’t know how serious everything is, but you know, I have to say that when I left the bus yesterday on my way home, I felt like everybody was pretty confident that they’d at least be able to give it a shot for this week,” Kory Lichtensteiger said. “If that’s not the case, and we have to throw some guys in there, I think, you know, it’s kind of an unknown.”
Montgomery began limping shortly after snapping the ball with 3:21 left in the fourth quarter and missed the final six plays, ending his streak of playing every offensive snap this season.
Lichtensteiger, the Redskins’ left guard, moved inside to assume Montgomery’s role at center, while Maurice Hurt, a special teams regular this season, entered to take over for Lichtensteiger at left guard.
Shanahan would not disclose the severity of Montgomery’s injury, instead saying only that he’d discuss it on Wednesday. Players are off on Tuesdays.
Black played 43 of 75 offensive snaps for Polumbus, entering on the Redskins’ third offensive play of the second half and finishing the game. He had played in every game this season on the placekicking protection unit and replaced an injured Trent Williams at left tackle for the majority of Washington’s loss to Cincinnati on Sept. 23.
The Redskins struggled with injuries on the offensive line last season, which was one of the main reasons the team finished with a 5-11 record. Ten players started at least one game and Washington used eight different lineups.
Williams, bothered by a variety of injuries to his left leg this season, has been the only ailing offensive lineman. Jammal Brown, projected to start at right tackle for the Redskins, began the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list with after undergoing hip surgery and will not play this season.
In addition to Hurt, who played left tackle at times during training camp, Washington has three rookie offensive linemen on the roster: third-round pick Josh LeRibeus, who has played in three games on special teams, fifth-round pick Adam Gettis, who has been inactive all year, and sixth-round pick Tom Compton, who was signed to the active roster from the practice squad two weeks ago.
Shanahan said starting right guard Chris Chester, along with Lichtensteiger, LeRibeus and Gettis, can play center. Lichtensteiger was a center at Bowling Green who was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the best collegiate center in the nation, his senior season.
“We have a little more depth [than last season],” Shanahan said. “Obviously we’d like to keep that continuity intact if we can. We’ll just have to wait and see.”